What area is your expertise?
Birmingham Retail Market
What trends do you see presently in retail development in your area?
Retail development continues to be driven by discount anchors and grocery stores.
What type of retail product is doing well in your area?
Of note, fourth quarter saw most retail absorption take place in neighborhood retail properties. Also, a new Wal-Mart Supercenter opened in the Eastern/Irondale submarket. All retail is doing well in our market with occupancy at approximately 91.2 percent.
What retailers are new to your area?
ALOC Grocery is new to the market along with several smaller national chain stores.
Who are the active retail developers in your area?
Colonial Properties Trust has done the most retail development in the past several years.
Please name one or two significant retail developments in your area. What impact will these projects have on the market?
Colonial Promenade in Fultondale, located in the Northern submarket, opened in Fall 2007 — Target, Best Buy and Books-A-Million
Colonial Promenade in Alabaster, located in the Highway 31 south submarket, Phase II opened in August 2007 — Target, JCPenney and Best Buy
The Grove in Hoover, located in the Hoover/Riverchase submarket, planned for 2009 — Target, Books-A-Million, Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse and Kohl’s
Also significant is the addition of Nordstrom at the Riverchase Galleria in 2012.
Where is the majority of development taking place? Why is this area doing well?
The majority of new development is taking place south of the city near the areas of residential growth.
What area do you expect to be the next big retail development market? Why?
I think we will see development and redevelopment of infill sites in suburban communities south of Birmingham. This development will allow retailers to tap into already mature markets.
Please describe the retail leasing activity in your area.
Leasing activity has been very active during 2007 mainly due to new development.
What types of retailers should look into your market in the coming year? What type of retail is needed?
I think we will continue to see the addition of major discount stores and junior anchors in newly developed centers.
Would you like to make any additional observations about the retail market in your area?
While the slow down in housing affects the retail market, the overall market is very healthy.
Submitted by Emris Graham, Jr., vice president with EGS Commercial Real Estate in Birmingham, Ala.
Emris Graham, Jr.